June 1st is the official start of what could be an active Hurric - WNEM TV 5

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June 1st is the official start of what could be an active Hurricane Season

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List of tropical storm names for the 2017 Hurricane Season. List of tropical storm names for the 2017 Hurricane Season.
2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook (NOAA) 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook (NOAA)
Tropical Storm Arlene track. Tropical Storm Arlene track.

We had a wonderful day of weather to kick off June here in Mid-Michigan, but the official beginning of meteorological summer is the beginning of something else as well. Hurricane Season. According to forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) this year could be more active than usual. 

The Forecast:

Let's take a look at the numbers. Forecasters at the CPC predict that there is a 45% chance of an above normal year, a 35% chance of a near normal year, and a 20% chance of a below normal year.

So what does that mean? In terms of named storms, the forecast is calling for 11 to 17 named storms, with 5 to 9 of those being hurricanes. Of those 5 to 9, they are expecting 2 to 4 to be a "major hurricane" which means the storm reaches Category 3 or above. An average season would be 12 named storms, about 6 hurricanes, and 3 major storms. 

What does it mean?

While this may seem alarming, it is important to remember that even in active years a landfall is not guaranteed. Last year would be considered an above average year, with 15 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. Of these 8 impacted a major land mass, only 5 of those were in the United States, and of those 5 only 1 was a hurricane. Damage to the US was relatively minor compared to past hurricane landfalls, and thus in the minds of many 2016 was not an active year. 

Let's compare this to 1992, the year marked by one of the most memorable US hurricanes, Hurricane Andrew. That year was otherwise very quiet. Just 7 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and only 1 major storm. That major storm was of course Andrew, and it racked up a staggering 26.5 billion dollars in damage. 

At the end of the day there is no way to predict how many storms will make landfall before they form. This is a major reason why those in hurricane threatened areas must pay attention to local weather forecasts and head warnings when issued. 

When can we expect the first storm?

Believe it or not the first storm of the year has already happened. Back on April 16th of this year a tropical depression formed in the middle of the Atlantic, and eventually strengthened into Tropical Storm Arlene. This was a rare April storm, and is only the second one to occur in April since satellites were used to track tropical weather. The storm largely went unnoticed by most of the country, as it just spun in a large circle in the Atlantic and never posed a threat to land. 

At the end of the day, staying up to date on the latest weather forecasts from your local meteorologists is the best way to stay ahead of the storms. While the First Warn 5 team will not always focus on tropical weather, when a large storm poses a threat to the US, we will be sure to pass the latest information along. 

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